Today is an important day. Women all over the nation are out in the streets protesting on International Women’s Day in support of #ADayWithoutAWoman. It’s a reminder that feminism is the radical notion that women are people, and it honors the great women whose shoulders we have stood on. To name a few: Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Wollstonecraft, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher, Anne Frank, Wangari Maathai, J.K. Rowling, and Oprah Winfrey.
The strike brings attention to the fact that “in 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent. Women on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio,” according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. This gap is widened even further when compared to black and Hispanic women. From Pew Research:
“White and Asian women have narrowed the wage gap with white men to a much greater degree than black and Hispanic women. For example, white women narrowed the wage gap in median hourly earnings by 22 cents from 1980 (when they earned, on average, 60 cents for every dollar earned by a white man) to 2015 (when they earned 82 cents). By comparison, black women only narrowed that gap by 9 cents, from earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white man in 1980 to 65 cents today. Asian women followed roughly the trajectory of white women (but earned a slightly higher 87 cents per dollar earned by a white man in 2015), whereas Hispanic women fared even worse than black women, narrowing the gap by just 5 cents (earning 58 cents on the dollar in 2015). [The hourly earnings of black and Hispanic women are just $13 and $12, respectively].”
It’s a reminder of the struggles women have had to go through over hundreds of years and what they are still fighting for. It was only in 1920 that white women achieved the right to vote (a movement started in 1848 in large part by Elizabeth Cady Stanton – it took over 70 years since the conversation began). It was only in 1965 that black women achieved the right to vote, thanks in large part to Sojourner Truth, and voter suppression is still a very real issue for African American Women due to early voting laws in some states.
It highlights the campaign to fight against sexual violence and sexual harassment, and with a president that does not respect women’s bodies, it is front and center, and it rears its ugly head every single day. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
- 1 in 3 women have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
- One in 5 women (20%) are sexually assaulted while in college. Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.
- Only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities. And the prevalence of false reporting is just 2-10% [which means these reports should always be taken seriously, until it is proved that they are false].
Feminism is not and should not be a divisive idea. It’s simply the concept that everyone should be equal. Equal in the workforce and equal right to body autonomy which includes freedom from sexual harassment and domestic abuse.
If you want to join the cause, here’s a list of great organizations that need your donations, or can use your help!
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research
- Planned Parenthood
- National Organization for Women
- League of Women Voters
- The American Association of University Women
Remember to #Resist. Fight for #Equality. Include #IntersectionalFeminism in the discourse. Lumos.